10 things should do in Okinawa, Japan’s hottest destination

Why Okinawa is Japan’s hottest destination

Beautiful Beaches

Okinawa is renowned for its pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters and white sand. The picturesque coastline offers a range of beach activities, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing. The vibrant marine life and coral reefs make it a paradise for underwater enthusiasts.

Unique Culture

Okinawa has a distinct cultural identity influenced by its historical connections to China, Southeast Asia, and the Ryukyu Kingdom. Visitors can explore traditional Ryukyuan architecture, visit historic sites like Shuri Castle, and enjoy traditional music, dance, and cuisine. The cultural richness adds a unique flavor to the island’s charm.

Scenic Natural Landscapes

Beyond its beaches, Okinawa boasts stunning natural landscapes. From dramatic cliffs and rock formations to lush forests and mangrove forests, the island offers diverse and picturesque scenery. Places like Cape Manzamo, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, and Yanbaru Forest are popular attractions for nature lovers.

Mild Climate

Okinawa benefits from a mild subtropical climate, making it an appealing destination year-round. Visitors can enjoy pleasant temperatures, clear skies, and a longer beach season than in other parts of Japan. The island’s climate is also conducive to growing unique tropical fruits, which are a treat for visitors to taste.

Rich History

Okinawa has a compelling history, particularly regarding its role in World War II and the Battle of Okinawa. Historical sites, museums, and memorials provide insights into this important period. Additionally, Okinawa’s cultural heritage and traditions are well-preserved, allowing visitors to delve into the island’s past.

Outdoor Activities

Okinawa provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Besides beach-related pursuits, visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and exploring the island’s nature parks and wildlife reserves. The natural beauty and diverse landscapes create an adventure-filled environment.

Culinary Delights

Okinawan cuisine is a highlight of any visit to the island. With a focus on fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and unique local ingredients, Okinawan dishes are flavorful and distinct. Savoring dishes like Okinawa soba, goya champuru (stir-fried bitter melon), and tropical fruit desserts is a delightful culinary experience.

Breakdown of the different seasons in Okinawa

Spring (March to May)

Springtime in Okinawa brings comfortable temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F) and clear skies. It’s a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, explore the beaches, and witness the blooming cherry blossoms.

Summer (June to August)

Summers in Okinawa are hot and humid, with temperatures averaging around 30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F). This period is popular for beach activities and water sports but can be crowded with tourists. It’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the strong sun.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn offers mild temperatures ranging from 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F) and less rainfall compared to summer. It’s an excellent time for outdoor exploration, snorkeling, and diving. You can also enjoy the colorful foliage during this season.

Winter (December to February)

Winters in Okinawa are generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). While swimming may be too cold, you can still enjoy sightseeing, visiting historical sites, and trying local cuisine. The winter also sees fewer tourists, resulting in a more relaxed atmosphere.

10 things should do in Okinawa

Explore Shuri Castle

Visit Shuri Castle in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture. This UNESCO World Heritage site showcases traditional Ryukyuan architecture and offers insights into the island’s history.

Shuri Castle, Okinawa
Shuri Castle, Okinawa

Relax on Beautiful Beaches

Spend a day at one of Okinawa’s stunning beaches, such as Emerald Beach, Sunset Beach, or Manza Beach. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun on the white sands.

Tokashiki Island in Okinawa
Tokashiki Island in Okinawa

Visit Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Discover the wonders of marine life at one of the world’s largest aquariums. Explore the diverse exhibits, including the mesmerizing Kuroshio Sea tank and the opportunity to see whale sharks up close.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Explore the Okinawa World Theme Park

Immerse yourself in the Okinawan culture at Okinawa World. Explore the Gyokusendo Cave, watch traditional performances, and learn about local crafts and traditions.

Gyokusendo Cave
Gyokusendo Cave

Try Okinawan Cuisine

Indulge in the unique flavors of Okinawan cuisine. Sample dishes like Okinawa soba (a type of noodle soup), goya champuru (stir-fried bitter melon), and savor tropical fruits like pineapples and mangoes.

Okinawan cuisine
Okinawan cuisine

Visit Cape Manzamo

Marvel at the breathtaking views from Cape Manzamo, a scenic cliff located in Onna Village. The dramatic rock formations and panoramic ocean views make it a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Cape Manzamo, Okinawa
Cape Manzamo, Okinawa

Explore the Yanbaru Forest

Embark on a hiking adventure in the lush Yanbaru Forest, known for its rich biodiversity. Discover unique plant and animal species while enjoying the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

The Yanbaru Forest
The Yanbaru Forest (source: Visit Okinawa Japan)

Take a Boat Tour to the Kerama Islands

Hop on a boat tour and explore the beautiful Kerama Islands. Snorkel in vibrant coral reefs, swim with tropical fish, and enjoy the pristine waters of this island paradise.

Kerama Islands (source: klook)

Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

Learn about the Battle of Okinawa and its impact on the island’s history at this poignant museum. Gain a deeper understanding of the war’s consequences and Okinawa’s commitment to peace.

Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum
Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

Traditional Ryukyuan Music and Dance

Attend a performance of traditional Ryukyuan music and dance, such as Eisa or Sanshin. These cultural performances offer a glimpse into Okinawa’s vibrant heritage and are often accompanied by colorful costumes and lively rhythms.

Ryukyuan Music and Dance
Ryukyuan Music and Dance